Guest Post from Screaming Eagles fan and veteran play-caller Andy Kossak
How many times through the years have all of us as football fans yelled at the television about a play that was called on 2nd-and-8? We know for sure our play idea would’ve had much more success than what our favorite team just went with, right? If only we had the chance to prove it with some sort of real-life Madden. Boom!
It was last year in late April when I first stumbled upon an article in the Wall Street Journal that shared the news that a new football league was forming where fans would have the ability to call plays for the teams to run. That’s right. As of that moment, I realized we all were going to have the ability to become live, armchair offensive coordinators, and there would be no going back.
I had to learn more and try it out for myself. When I did, I quickly found out that this new concept wasn’t just exciting; it was borderline addicting.
To get started on becoming the world’s next great play caller, all I had to do was install an app for the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles. They were the team that was trying out this new method of play calling in the Indoor Football League against squads such as the Arizona Rattlers, Colorado Crush, and Green Bay Blizzard.
The Screaming Eagles’ games were broadcast live on Twitch. Once tuned in, all that had to be done was to get ready for kickoff and get prepared to start being part of the offensive play-calling process.
When the Screaming Eagles were on offense, the app provided a quick chance to pick from a handful of pre-selected play choices. I could choose from run, pass, or special teams options, and the team would run the play that got the most votes from everyone out there like me that knows more than the so-called experts.
The chosen play was relayed to head coach Matthew Sauk, and he then passed that information on to quarterback Verlon Reed. Reed would then inform his teammates in the huddle of the play, and they’d run it on the field.
Keep in mind, all of the above had to happen in a matter of seconds, as the Screaming Eagles weren’t given any bonus time to wait for plays to be voted on, information to be passed along, and so on. They faced the same play clock as everyone else, so everything was happening on the fly.
The app was very user-friendly and made it easy to choose from the selection of plays. Once I made my choice, it was always interesting to see if that would be the play that won the vote or if a majority voted to do something else. When a play I chose didn’t get run, it kind of made me think about how offensive coordinators must feel when the head coach negates their choice and says to do something else.
The thrill of having to make a quick decision based on down and distance, where the offense was on the field, how much time there was to go in the game, etc., is an incredible rush for a football fan on the outside who always wanted to be on the inside.
The only problem with the whole concept is the season came to an end, but, as you know, there’s better news ahead. Instead of just one team, there’s now a league of teams for whom to call plays, as the Fan Controlled Football League kicks off later this year. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to play offensive coordinator again. Opening day can’t get here soon enough.